The number of times a given English word appears in a biblical book, Testament or the whole Bible depends, of course, on which translation is used. For example, while the word “joy” appears exactly 61 times in both the King James Version (KJV) and New International Version (NIV), the word “praise” actually occurs only 26 times in the KJV of the New Testament, but 41 times in the NIV New Testament. So such statistics can be a bit misleading, or even very much so, without context and other factors being considered.
It’s important to remember that most statistics are pretty meaningless unless they are compared with another statistic. The fact that there are 50 million people in a country is only meaningful compared to the size of the country and how many people are in other countries. The same is true in looking at biblical words. Take the word “faith.” Only appearing 2 times in the Old Testament of the KJV, and16 times in the Old Testament of the NIV, both versions of the Old Testament are in clear contrast when compared with the New Testament. We find 245 instances of “faith” in the KJV and 254 instances in the NIV New Testament – showing a big difference between the two Testaments.
Also it is sometimes interesting to compare the number of times a given biblical word occurs in a given translation compared to another word. For example, “faith” actually occurs a little more often in the New Testament in almost all translations than “love” does (254 compared to 232 in the NIV), showing that faith was certainly a very important quality for the writers of the New Testament.
This much may be obvious to us, but in other cases, numerical differences may show subtle variance in the stresses of different biblical writers. For example, using the NIV, while John’s three epistles talk about love more than the writings of any other New Testament author (as we might expect), the word “faith” only occurs once in his combined three epistles as opposed to ten times in the two epistles of Peter and 13 times in the epistle of James. Likewise, “hope” appears once in each of John’s three epistles, as opposed to five times in 1 Peter and not at all in James. Again, such “statistics” do not really prove anything, but they do show some general tendencies in the writings (at least the ones we have) of a number of biblical writers.
So some biblical statistics can be meaningful if they are properly compared to give context, but “statistics” such as “the word ‘praise’ occurs over three hundred times in the Bible” really tell us little more than the fact that “praise” does occur in many biblical books. But we knew that, of course.